This question is posed to us from time to time by young women who are considering the possibility of becoming a religious sister.
We usually respond with, “Yes, everyone has a vocation.”
A better question to ask is, ‘What vocation am I being called to?”
Each person reading this article is currently living out a vocation. There are three states of life, or vocations:
A vocation is a call by God to a particular state in life. For God tells us in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.” And again in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope.” This is good news! We have a God who has loved us in to being and wants us to be happy! In fact, He “alone probes the mind and tests the heart” (Jer. 17:10). Knowing what will make us supremely happy - not the fleeting happiness of emotions, but the peace and joy that He alone can give – He calls each one to the very vocation we are best suited to.
Each vocation is a call to love. In the married state this is very obvious, the spouses are call to love a particular person. We know through the example of Jesus Christ and from the teachings of Our Church, that true married love is a total, mutual gift of self, one to another - no matter what it may cost us, thinking only about what is best for the other. St. Paul has told us that the spouses should, “love each other as Christ loved the Church” and “handed Himself over for her,” so that “the two shall become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:21, 25, 31). And in the wisdom of Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Humanae Vitae, we learn that this kind of love needs to be free, total, faithful and fruitful. Free from attachments to others, “so that husband and wife become in a way one heart and one soul;” Total, “that very special form of personal friendship in which husband and wife generously share everything, allowing no unreasonable exceptions and not thinking solely of their own convenience;” “Faithful and exclusive of all other, and this until death…that it is the source of profound and enduring happiness;” and Fruitful, for, “children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute in the highest degree to their parents' welfare.”
A religious vocation, whether to the priesthood or religious life, is also a call to love. There is a certain spousal aspect to this love as well, Our Lord being the “Other” in this relationship. Every human person is called to union with God, but in a special way one with a religious vocation Frees him/herself to offer everything that they are and have, freeing themselves from the obstacles which could hinder the totality of their response. In this way they will become true signs of Christ in the world” (Vita Consecrata #25). This dedication and love for God is lived in a Total gift of self to Him, giving oneself generously, “for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 19:12). A religious is Faithful to God exclusively in perfect continence with a love that is, “a manifestation of dedication to God with ‘an undivided heart’ (1 Cor. 7:32-34)…the love to which the Incarnate Word bears witness even to the point of giving his life” (Vita Consecrata #21). The Fruitfulness of the religious, “lies in the fact that all are called to become saints which cannot fail to inspire more and more those who by their very choice of life have the mission of reminding others of that call” (Vita Consecrata #39).
The vocation to remain single in the world is also a call to, “love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mt 22:37) “An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord… An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy in both body and spirit” ( 1Cor 7:32-34).
For someone who is asking the question, “to what vocation am I called?” what is needed is an openness to doing God’s Will in their lives. A person set on this intention, growing each day closer to the Lord through participation in a sacramental life and daily prayer (especially prayer before Our Lord Jesus Christ, Truly & Substantially Present in the Blessed Sacrament) will be led by Him to the perfect vocation which will give them ultimate fulfillment.
Our prayer life consists of :
Liturgy of the Hours
Divine Mercy Chaplet
As we are contemplatives in action, our life and work is possible only through deep prayer, both in community and individually.
We strive to achieve Christian perfection by following the example of St. Francis of Assisi by:
~Living a life based on deep spiritual communion with Jesus Christ
~Observing the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ with an undivided heart
~Devoting our lives to the service of the Lord and his people, particularly by upholding the dignity of all human life from the moment of conception until natural death
~Acknowledging the manifest goodness of God by recognizing the value of each human person, who, made in His Image and Likeness, is called to be His true son/daughter
~Praying for priests - who are the life-blood of our Church - and showing obedience and reverence to the teachings of our Holy Roman Pontiff, the Holy Catholic Church, the Magisterium and our Local Ordinary
Our sisters attend daily Mass and participate in Matins, Lauds, Sext, Vespers and Compline as a community in union with the Universal Church. We also pray the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily. Individually, each sister has one hour of Eucharistic Adoration, Spiritual Reading, and private prayer each day.
In the spirit of St. Francis, each Daughter is ready;
-to console rather than be consoled,
-to understand rather than be understood,
-to love rather than be loved.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
We understand that "prayer is the soul of the Apostolate, but that also the Apostolate animates and inspires prayer" (Vita Consecrata) All Sisters strive to follow Christ after the example of Saint Francis of Assisi through:
Our prayer life consists of personal or interior conversation with God, daily Mass, prayer in common as a community, daily Eucharistic Adoration, and the Liturgy of the Hours in union with the universal church.
Penance is expressed in several ways:
Fasting, both privately and in community, on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday
Receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation weekly
Taking up our daily crosses and uniting them to the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ
In the Spirit of Saint Francis, each should be an instrument of God's peace, sowing love where there is hatred, pardon where there is injury, faith where there is doubt, hope where there is despair, light where there is darkness, and joy where there is sadness.
Each Daughter should be ready to console rather than be consoled, to comfort rather than be comforted, to understand rather that be understood. This allows each Daughter to serve God freely with an open heart and soul.
Obedience signifies our desire to respond like Christ to the Father's Will; He who was obedient even unto death.
We seek to do the Lord's Will in everything, imploring Him at the beginning of each day, that every thought, word, action and every movement and affection of our hearts be totally united to His Most Holy Will. By this we recognize that our Father knows what is best for us and if we follow His precepts and trust in Him, we will experience peace in this life and Eternal Joy with Him in Heaven
“Arise, my beloved, and come!” (Song 2:10)
The goal of formation for Postulants is to discern whether or not they are truly called by God to serve in a religious association, particularly this one.
Postulancy is a period of discernment that lasts from 6 months to one year depending on the readiness of the candidate to advance to the level of Novice.
Duration may be extended for up to one year. If at any time during Postulancy the candidate decides that our way of life is not for her, she is free to leave. Conversely, if the Counsel decides that the candidate is not suited to our way of life, she may be asked to leave.
“I will allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart” (Hosea2:16)
“The Novitiate marks the beginning of a Daughter’s life in the community” (cf. Cannon 646), and is ordered so, “that the Novices better recognize their Divine vocation and one which is, moreover, proper to the Institute, that they experience the Institute’s manner of living, that they be formed in mind and heart by its spirit and that their intention and suitability be tested. (Directives of Formation, #45)
Purpose, Aim & Objective for Novices includes:
- Integration in to community living & active participation in community prayer life
- Developing a deeper understanding & living-out of the Evangelical Counsels
- Growing in relationship with Jesus Christ, their Divine Bridegroom
- Practice of living penance
- Growing in knowledge of Scripture
- Developing a generous, selfless spirit
- Cultivation of virtues, especially self-sacrificial charity
- Introduction in to bringing Communion to the homebound and institutionalized
- Ability to becoming a Lector for Convent Liturgies
“I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the Lord” (Hosea 2:22)
Following Novitiate, the sisters make their First Profession of Vows. Our sisters profess the Evangelical Counsels with a 4th Vow to uphold the Dignity of every human person from the moment of conception until natural death for one year. This may be renewed for another year and then for a period of three years. After five years of temporary Vows, she is eligible for Perpetual Profession. After five years of temporary profession, she is eligible for perpetual profession.
Religious life brings together disciples of Christ, who can only bear fruit if they are motivated by a profound continual spiritual renewal. The aim is that each daughter realizes that in giving her life to the service of the Lord, she belongs to Him alone.
Spiritual development is fostered among all professed members so that they never lose sight of the spiritual component of their lives. Individual and community retreats are to be taken on a yearly basis. To deepen our relationship with Our Lord Jesus Christ, all professed daughters are encouraged in spiritual reading, prayer and contemplation, spiritual activities and “prayer in action” within the apostolate.
LG47-“Let each of the faithful called to the profession of the evangelical counsels, therefore, carefully see to it that he persevere and ever grow in that vocation God has given him. Let him do this for the increased holiness of the Church, for the greater glory of the one and undivided Trinity, which in and through Christ is the fount and the source of all holiness.”
"O GOD, You are my GOD, for You I long;
My body pines for You
like a dry, weary land without water.
So I gaze on You in the sanctuary
to see Your strength and Your Glory.
For Your love is better than life."
Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor,
and you will have a treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.
"LORD, listen to my prayer,
turn Your ear to my appeal.
You are faithful, You are just; give answer...
I muse on what Your hand has wrought
and to You I stretch out my hands.
Like a parched land my soul thirsts for You.
In the morning let me know Your love
for I put my trust in You.
Make me know the way I should walk:
to You I lift up my soul...
Teach me to do Your Will
for You, O LORD, are my God.
Let Your good Spirit guide me
in ways that are level and smooth."
Psalm 143: 1, 5-6, 8, 10
“Peter said, ‘We have given up our possessions and followed you.’ He said to them, ‘Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or
wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God who will not receive an overabundant return in this present
age and eternal life in the age to come.’”
"How lovely is Your dwelling place,
LORD, God of hosts.
My soul is longing and yearning,
is yearning for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my soul ring out their joy
to God the living God...
They are happy who dwell in Your house,
for ever singin Your praise.
They are happy whose strength is in You...
One day within Your courts
is better than a thousand elsewhere.
Psalm 84: 1-2, 4, 10
"You shall be called by a new name
pronounced by the mouth of the LORD.
You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD,
a royal diadem held by your God...
You shall be called, 'My delight,'
and your land 'Espoused.'
For the LORD delights in you,
and makes your land His spouse.
As a young man marries a virgin,
your Builder shall marry you;
and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride
so shall your God rejoice in you."
Isaiah 62:2-3, 4-5
"The virgin - indeed, any unmarried woman... is concerned with things of the Lord, in pursuit of holiness in body and spirit."
"Listen, O daughter, give ear to my words:
forget your own people and your father's house.
So will the King desire your beauty:
He is your Lord, pay homage to Him."
“Jesus again in reply spoke to them in parables, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.
He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying,
“Tell those invited: ‘Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.’”
Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and
killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his servants,
The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the
feast whomever you find. The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was
filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him,
'My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment? But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants,
Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Many are invited, but few
"Train me to observe Your law,
to keep it with all my heart.
Guide me in the paths of Your commands;
for there is my delight.
Bend my heart to Your Will."
“In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes
with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy
ones according to God's will. We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For
those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
And those He predestined He also called; and those He called He also justified; and those He justified He also glorified.”
"If the LORD does not build the house, in vain do its builders labor;
if the LORD does not watch over the city,
in vain does the watchman keep vigil.
In vain is your earlier rising,
your going later to rest,
you who toil for the bread you eat:
when He pours gifts on His beloved while they slumber."
"Then I heard the voice of the LORD saying, ‘Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?’ ‘Here I am,’ I said; ‘send me!’”
"Blessed be the LORD, my Rock,
Who trains my arms for battle,
Who prepares my hands for war.
He is my Love, my Fortress;
He is my stronghold, my Savior,
my Shield, my place of refuge."
"A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars."
"I will sing forver of Your love, O LORD;
through all ages my mouth will proclaim Your truth.
Of this I am sure, that Your love lasts forever."
"Conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear
news of you, that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind struggling together for the faith of the
for You my soul is thirsting.
"If you find your delight in the LORD,
He will grant you your heart's desire.
Commit your life to the LORD,
trust in Him and He will act...
Be still before the LORD and wait in patience."
Psalm 37:4-5, 7
“As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus answered him,
‘Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest His head.’ And to another He said,
'Follow me.’ But he replied, ‘(Lord,) let me go first and bury my father.’ But He answered him, ‘Let the dead bury their dead. But you,
go and proclaim the God.’ And another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.’ (To him)
Jesus said, ‘No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.’’
"Be still and know that I Am GOD." Psalm 26:11
“The word of the LORD came to me thus: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations
I appointed you. ‘Ah, LORD GOD!’ I said, ‘I know not how to speak; I am too young.’ But the LORD answered me, Say not,
‘I am too young.’ To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak. Have no fear before them,
because I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.’”
"Like a parched land my soul thirsts for You...Prayer
In the morning let me know Your love
for I put my trust in You.
Make me know the way I should walk:
to You I lift up my soul...
Teach me to do Your Will
for You, O LORD, are my God"
Psalm 143:6, 8, 10
"When you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials."
"Out of the depths I cry to You, O LORD,
LORD, hear my voice!
O let Your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleading...
My soul is waiting for the LORD,
I count on His Word.
My soul is waiting for the LORD
more than watchman for daybreak.
Let the watchman count on daybreak
and Israel on the LORD.
Psalm 130:1-2, 5-6